Yup! I flew alllll the way to Washington for this!
You know when you just KNOW something is a good fit? Like when you're rug shopping and you have to scroll through 247 rugs because "you'll know it when you see it."
I was first introduced to Melissa's work when she was a guest on my favorite photography podcast in the fall. Per usual, I started following her work on instagram and just couldn't stop wanting to pin every.single.image. to my moodboard. The way she lights - the simplicity in her work. I could tell she was unique in her approach and I just had to meet her and know all the things. And what better way than to fly out and use this as a business write-off?
So I contacted her through her website - she promptly responded with setting up a zoom call to 'meet' me. We chatted for an hour and she really took the time to just listen to me yap and hear what I wanted out of the experience. After a brief time considering involving my family, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I wanted this to be all about ME. So I booked ONE plane ticket to Seattle, a ONE bedroom apartment for a couple nights, and a rental car. My first time ever traveling solo.
TRAVELING ALONE IS so liberating!
There's no one timetable to keep track of except mine. I can eat/sleep/pee when I want. I can stream whatever I want to watch.
my favorite thing was just driving around the beautiful residential areas
I LOVE the Pacific Northwest and it wasn't my first time in the area. I find the climate very agreeable, the architecture charming, and the overall vibe electric and peaceful at the same time. I flew into Seattle and made my 45 minute drive to Tacoma, specifically an area by the water called Ruston. I rented this adorable little 1 bedroom apartment for cheap on VRBO and stayed 2 nights.
On my quick trip I:
- got a pedicure
- went shopping
- ate awesome food
- went to a movie by myself
- had my photoshoot on Wednesday morning
Tales from the other side
After this experience I feel it's important for one to be photographed by as many different professional photographers as possible.
Because professional photographers (good ones, anyway) get to know their sitter's personalities and are quick to figure it out.
They know how to light. (how a subject is lit determines the overall mood of a photo)
They know how to pose. (they are your mirror and know your best angles)
and last and most important thing...
THEY KNOW HOW TO DIRECT.
More on this in a minute.
Going back to why you should diversify who takes your portrait: all pro photographers have their own, unique style. Specifically in lighting and posing. But it's the get-to-know-you bit that stands out. There's the YOU you see in the mirror and then theirs literally thousands and thousands of other mirrors (psstttt people) who see you. It's the truth, whether it's someone you pass in the street who could only judge you based on your outside appearance to your best friend that knows everything about you. And if you were to hand any one of those people a camera and ask them to take your portrait, they would give a million different images, just based on what they know or do not know about you.
Back to giving good direction. THIS IS CRUCIAL.
I mean, how many times have you had your photo taken and you didn't know what to do with your damn hands?!
I'm guessing every time.
This portrait experience was the first time I was ever directed by someone other than myself.
At first, it's reassuring. You develop a trust with your photographer that you'll look gooooood.
Then something surprising happens. As the subject, you become locked in. They become your puppet master. They don't ask you to move, they TELL you. It is a command. And you obey.
They tell you to rotate, you rotate.
They tell you to slide your chin, you slide your chin.
They tell you to jump, you ask how high?
When your photographer finds their stride with their direction, you then begin to feel empowered. Which sounds bizarre. And in the end you are drunk with all the power and feel like you can do anything.
A sneak peak...
I love how happy I am and the simplicity of the black and white.